About CruiseMates Cruises
Ever since CruiseMates came online in 1999, one of our goals has been to bring cruisers together both online and in the real world. In the last seven and a half years, CruiseMates has hosted several CruiseMates group cruises of varying sizes. But this week, we are honored to be hosting the largest CruiseMates cruise in our history; 150 readers coming together to celebrate New Year's Eve for the CruiseMates Cruise of the (Celebrity) Century.
CruiseMates knows people enjoy talking about the things they love, especially with other people who feel the same way. The Internet is an easy way to meet people who share your interests, but the Internet only goes so far when it comes to making real friends. With CruiseMates, you can meet people online and then actually meet them in real life while doing that thing you all love.
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Sharing a cruise with a friend truly makes your cruise much more enjoyable. But, while cruising is a great way to meet new people, naturally, it isn't a requirement that you embrace everyone you meet. Sometimes you meet people whom you have an amazing amount in common with, and today I have many people I would consider very good friends who I met on cruise ships. If that happens to you, then good for you. But, if it doesn't happen, then the good news is that unless you choose otherwise you will probably never see these people again. And you are not required to join in any activities on the ship that aren't your style. You can still converse with them on the Internet, but the absence of any "friendship magic" is usually silently understood by both parties; and no harm is done.
CruiseMates Cruise of the Century
This cruise, the "CruiseMates Cruise of the Century" is a five-day Western Caribbean cruise out of Miami on the newly remodeled Celebrity Century. Celebrity has been a favorite cruise line with Cruisemates staff since the day we first went online, known for their great food and congenial, professional service. This is a relatively older and smaller ship, built in 1995 at just 70,600 gross tons, it carries 1750 passengers.
Some of the CruiseMates readers online have been planning this cruise for over a year now. As the excitement has been building in our message boards, more and more cruisers have been jumping on the ship wagon and joining us for our celebration. To see what all the excitement is all about, click into our Cruise of the Century Message Board.
Here is a rundown of the activities we have scheduled:
December 29: The pre-cruise festivities start at 7:30 p.m. at Lombardi's restaurant at the Bayside marketplace in Miami. This is the night before we board the ship, and this party is for people who are flying in a day early. A reservation has been made for the group. But if you have not made a reservation you are still perfectly welcome to show up.
December 30: Embarkation day, everyone is expected to stop by as early as 1:30 p.m. (but throughout the day) at the Sunset Bar on deck 11. This bar is located in the pool area, right outside the food court. There will be all kinds of goodies waiting for you, such as magnetic door signs made by our CruiseMates host Mike Mastellar. Mike also has CruiseMates keychains for everyone which he will be used to identify you as a member of our group for the parties and events on the ship and in Key West. CruiseMates hostess Mary Lou has made tote bags for everyone, and the rumor is that there will be goodies inside.
December 31: We are in Key West during the day before the New Year's Eve festivities began aboard the ship at night. Mike Mastellar has organized the CruiseMates Margaritaville margarita party at Margaritaville, 500 Duval St, Key West. Party time is 2:00 p.m. till 3:30 p.m. Every one must remember to bring their keychains that Mike distributed the previous day in order to receive a free drink.
December 31: this is New Year's Eve! There will be an open house in the penthouse suite of Nancy Bogert. Between 10:00 p.m. to 11:15. Everyone is invited to come by and enjoy a glass of champagne, complements of CruiseMates editor Paul Motter and his wife Lou Ann who will be there to meet and greet you. Nancy's stateroom number will be given to you onboard.
January 1, 2007: Happy New Year!CruiseMates is hosting a cocktail party on board the ship in the Hemisphere lounge, 5:00 to 6:00 p.m. Hot and cold appetizers will be offered, and there will be some special presentations made.
January 1 and 2: Dinner reservations have been made for various people on either of these nights at alternative dining restaurant Murano's. Please check with Kuki for your dining time if you have made a reservation.
January 3, 2007: It's CruiseMates trivia time! Test your knowledge of cruise and CruiseMates trivia. There will be questions of general knowledge related to cruising and pertaining to the CruiseMates site. Those who are not familiar with CruiseMates should grab Paul Motter, Kuki, Mary Lou, Donna, Mike or someone else who was a regular on the CruiseMates staff to be on their team. It's a great way to get to know new people. The optimum number of people per team is six. If you don't know who the CruiseMates staff people are, Kuki will point them out. Time and place to be announced.
Allow Kuki, our CruiseMates' Cruise Director, to answer your questions.
CruiseMates is not a travel agency, we don't profit from our
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CruiseMates Cruises. Our goal is to find great deals on exciting new ships and itineraries and make them even better by offering the lower rates only available through group pricing. Then we enhance the experience by making it easy for you to find people you can enjoy sharing the experience with before you get on board.
We do it because it's a cool thing to do -- that's it. Lower prices and the fellowship of other cruise enthusiasts you meet here in CruiseMates. Our cruises are more affordable and more fun.
Can I get the same or even lower prices elsewhere?
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Maybe, and you're certainly welcome to try, but our prices are pretty hard to beat. But that's not the only reason to book into our group cruises. The fun of sharing these sailings and itineraries with a bunch of like-minded "net friendly" cruisers is what truly sets these cruises apart.
Here in CruiseMates you get the opportunity to get together online, in our message boards and chatroom, and to correspond with the people you meet here via email before you go. Then you actually get to meet the same people in person during the cruise, to share the fun that cruising with a group offers.
Does it really make a difference to know people on board?
Take it from us --
It makes the entire cruise experience much richer when you share it with friendly people -- people you have things in common with. Here in CruiseMates you can get to know your fellow cruisers before you go - so you can find the people you have things in common with, and avoid those you don't.
No, we don't "force" you to socialize. You can cruise with us just to get the great prices, perks and itineraries we offer, you don't even have to tell us you're there. But we do make it easy for you to meet people if you want to, both before your cruise and onboard, and we think that's a pretty good thing, too.
So, who are CruiseMates Cruises for?
They are for everyone. All types of people join us; families, couples, and singles. CruiseMates offers a way for parents to "pre-screen" and introduce their kids to other families with kids, for couples to meet people who share interests in special activities to get together for talk or action, for singles to meet other singles, and for teens to make new friends in an unthreatening way.
By joining a CruiseMates Cruise you have the choice to go off and spend time on your own if the mood strikes you, but also have the choice of joining "the group" for all kinds of activities, both onboard and in ports of call.
What kind of activities?
Every CruiseMates Cruise is hosted by a CruiseMates staff member who makes sure everyone is aware of any special activities that are planned. Onboard the ship, from the "meet and greet" cocktail party to disembarkation, our hosts plan mixers, games and merriment. Depending on the cruise, you have the option of participating in the following activities, (none are mandatory); sharing a table at dinner, attending our introductory parties, and attending special tours we set up such as galley and bridge tours. In addition, CruiseMates Cruisers are often the recipients of special perks like champagne in the cabin and gifts from the cruise line.
In port, you can prearrange to share a boat, taxi, or car and guide for more adventurous
touring on your own. Some of our cruises include shore excursions exclusively for the CruiseMates group, to avoid battling the throngs lining up for ship's excursions.
Why can't I just wait to meet people on board the ship?
In our eyes, the anticipation of an upcoming cruise is as much a part of the experience as the cruise itself. In CruiseMates you can share the excitement with other people who are feeling the same way you are! Do you really want to call your friends and relatives who aren't going on a cruise and tell them all the details of a cruise they are not taking? You'll only make them feel terrible.
Share your enthusiasm with other people who are as excited as you are -- other CruiseMates! Plus, your fellow CruiseMates are an asset in helping you plan your vacation. Ask them what they are planning to do in port, share tips about excursions, packing and planning. You'll not only get new ideas and invaluable information, you'll make new friends in the process. Friends with whom you will soon be sharing a cruise.
We know you may be skeptical, who isn't these days? But there is no hidden agenda here --CruiseMates is not a travel agency, we don't profit from our CruiseMates Cruises. Our goal is to find great deals on exciting new ships and itineraries and make them even better by offering the lower rates only available through group pricing. Then we enhance the experience by making it easy for you to find people you can enjoy sharing the experience with before you get aboard the ship.
A word of warning though. A CruiseMates Cruise is is not your typical cruise experience. It's WAY more fun than that!